Bradenton boy, 6, presumed drowned off Coquina Beach

rdymond@bradenton.comApril 22, 2013 

BRADENTON BEACH -- The body of 6-year-old Lamontea Taylor, who was swept away Saturday evening while he was swimming off Coquina Beach, was recovered about 10 a.m. Monday, Bradenton Beach police said.

The world will be a dimmer place without Lamontea Taylor, say family and friends.

Lamontea, 6, a Samoset Elementary School student, fell victim Saturday night to the vicious rip currents in Longboat Pass, which caught hold of him after be jumped off a wood jetty at the southern tip of Coquina Beach, said Sgt. James Gill of the Bradenton Beach Police Department.

Gill then pointed to the wooden jetty.

"That's a spot known for bad currents," Gill said. "There are signs there not to enter the water. The life guards, unfortunately, were off duty. As a general rule, we caution people not to swim near barrier islands."

After Lamontea went missing at 6 p.m. during a family cookout, authorities searched for him until after dark Saturday and resumed the search unsuccessfully during the daylight hours Sunday, Gill said.

"We have gone from a rescue operation to a recovery operation," Gill said at 3 p.m. Sunday. "We will continue the search all during daylight Sunday a couple of miles south of Longboat Pass."

Lamontea's family members arrived at daybreak Sunday to look for the child after being around the area most of the night.

They gathered, most exhausted, under a pavilion near the jetty, the last place he was seen.

His mother, Bradenton's Laketa Taylor , looked at her son's picture on her cell phone and a dreamy look came over her face.

"I am lost for words," Taylor said. "I just want him found. I want to touch him. I want my baby out of the water."

A family member, Nicholas McGee , 15, who attends Horizon Academy, mirrored the family's frustration.

"He was a good boy, not a troublemaker," Nicholas said. "There's just not enough people out here to look for him. Where is the community?"

Elisha Evangelisto , a Holmes Beach resident, said she was among a handful of residents searching for Lamontea Saturday night. She expected to see an army of professional searchers and volunteers Sunday, but it wasn't so.

"We heard about him being lost and we came out at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and were out until 1:30 a.m. with flashlights," Evangelisto said. "I'm surprised there isn't more of a ground patrol today and boats and divers today (Sunday)."

Because of the vast area going south from Cocquina Beach, the strength of the rescue team could not be fully perceived. Gill said. But he said it included two Florida Wildlife Conservation boats and an airplane, one Manatee County Sheriff's Office boat and two deputies, a Bradenton Beach Police Department boat and two officers, a Longboat Key Police Department boat and one officer and a U.S. Coast Guard boat with an unknown amount of crew.

An underwater camera also did not locate Lamontea, Gill said.

"It's a very unfortunate and sad situation," Gill added, explaining that he told the family the same stark truth he was telling the media.

"They are holding out hope," Gill said of the family.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service